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Subscribe to this list via RSS Blog posts tagged in apprenticeship



One sunny afternoon just before Beltane, the coven kid and I walk over to Powderhorn Park. We're playing What's That.

What's that? I ask, pointing.

Tree, he says.

What's that? Sun. What's that? Dog.

As it happens, we arrive at the park just as the Heart of the Beast folks are starting their dress rehearsal for the upcoming May Day festivities. The kid and I sit down on the grass to watch. I take a moment to savor the fact that the ground is finally warm enough to sit on.

One by one, the animals in their costumes come on. We continue our game.

What's that? I ask.

Bird, he says. (It was Eagle.)

What's that?


Deer has a nice set of antlers on him.

What's that? I ask.

God, says the kid.

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs


An aspiring young warlock named Gwydion

would sleep through the ante meridian,

but then spend his hours

weaving garlands of flowers,

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So, you want to learn the Craft, eh?

Great. Let me give you thirteen good reasons why you don't want me for your teacher.


I'm a beginner myself.

After almost 50 years in the Craft, I not infrequently still feel like a beginner.

After 50 years in the Craft, chances are, you will too.


I don't bother with basics.

I'm not going to waste either my time or yours with the basics. Those you should know already. If you don't, go learn them.


All I teach is basics.

Once you know the basic principles, it's just a matter of applying them as you go.

After that, it's all experience.


It's all on you.

The initiative is yours. If you want to know what I know, you need to come to me. I'm not going to set up times to meet, or give you assignments, or provide you with a curriculum.

All that needs to come from you.


I'm not going to draw your conclusions for you.

Ask me a question, and I'll tell you the story, or sing you the song, but you'll have to reach your own conclusions.

By the way, I'll expect you to remember the song or the story, too.



You need to know the sacred songs of the Witches, all 900 of them, and you need to know them now. The poems, the stories, the rituals: you need to learn them all. If they came tomorrow and took away all the books, would you have enough in your head for the Craft to survive?

I tell you, it's the work of a lifetime. I'm still working on it myself.


I expect you to watch, to listen, and to ask.

Don't expect any preemptive explanations. If you want to know the insides, you need to ask.

This, of course, means that you need to pay close enough attention that you'll know what to ask.

This much can I promise you: I do know an answer to your question. I just may not know that I know until you ask.

So ask.


We'll spend a lot of time together.

Really, the best way to learn the Craft is by apprenticeship. I know lots that I don't know that I know; there's much that I assume everyone can do, simply because it comes naturally to me.

So we'll need to spend enough time together for you to observe me in lots of different situations, and so learn what works and what doesn't. Sometimes I'll get it right, sometimes I won't. In the future, these will become part of your repertoire of precedents from which to draw, so you'll need to attend carefully, and store them away.

Really, you'll need them all.


I don't want students, I want peers.

Witches think actively. When I'm in the process of working something out for myself, I'm going to come to you and ask.

I'll expect an answer, and I'll expect you to know why that's the answer.


I'll expect you to know why.

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The (witch's) Apprentice

I was a magician’s apprentice once.  True story!  I worked in a small metaphysical shop where I was employed as a personal assistant/store clerk/apprentice.  It was a fun and useful job in some ways, and terrible in many others.  I don’t want to get into too many personal details, but I can say that a few years later and after some valuable and hard lessons, I’m thankful for the overall experienced but so relieved that those years, that place, and those people, are far behind me.

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